Canadian country singer Stompin' Tom Connors has died at the age of 77.
The star, real name Charles Thomas Connors, passed away from natural causes at his home in Ontario on Wednesday (06Mar13).
Connors found fame in the mid-1970s and earned his nickname for stomping the heel of his left boot to keep rhythm. He was beloved for songs such as Sudbury Saturday Night, Bud the Spud and The Hockey Song, which was often played at ice hockey arenas.
The singer's death was announced to the crowd at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey squad, and fans stood to pay their respects as The Hockey Song was played.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took to his Twitter.com page to add his tribute, declaring, "We have lost a true Canadian original. R.I.P. Stompin' Tom Connors. You played the best game that could be played."
Connors was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1996, one of the country's highest honours, and also had his own postage stamp.
He is survived by his wife Lena, two sons, two daughters and several grandchildren, and his loved ones have revealed Connors wrote a touching message to his fans before his death.
The note, published on his website on Wednesday, reads, "I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.
"It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.
"I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done."